Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You don’t know what you don’t know…

Have you heard this expression?

Having had a few conversations with some of the amazing women in my life over the last few weeks, I keep getting this…there are so many things I don’t know.

It makes me think of the history of the White House…ok…that seems random…but follow me along…

There was a renovation done to the White House to create a third floor out of the attic. The renovation was done with steel beams for strength.

During the Truman administration, it was discovered that the third floor renovation was causing structural damage to the rest of the White House because of its weight.

The decision was made to keep the exterior façade, but to rebuild the structure from the inside out using all steel beam construction.

Most remarkable – the outside walls of the White House remained largely intact, while the interior rooms were dismantled and put into storage. The White House was then restored from the inside out.

Here is the point…no one who didn’t have access to the interior of the White House at that time could have imagined what that beautiful façade hid.

Sometimes we see others…experience interaction with them, or experience NON-interaction with them and we form a judgement.

Rarely, do we know the entire story.

One of my co-workers asked me this question: “When you and your husband get your wires crossed over meeting somewhere and one of you gets it wrong, do you bite first and ask questions later?” And I had to say, most of the time, yes. I bite first.

I have too many judgements.

I don’t give enough people the benefit of the doubt.

I do not seek often enough in this life to understand, rather than judge.

In the particular case with my spouse, I have a myriad of past experiences that give me a basis on which to form my judgements. Usually I’m spot on…

But, I have to ask myself – am I pinning him into a cycle of repeating mistakes because I never step outside of my judgements?

If he did something again that has been a continuous annoyance to me, and instead of the usual verbal altercation, I just zipped my lip and game him a hug, would that alter the outcome the next time he has the opportunity to do the same thing?

It’s a good question.

We, as human beings, tend to operate on the “Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me” principal. We build walls and pad ourselves against getting bamboozled again.

We try to shield ourselves from the reality that other human beings will inevitably fail to meet our expectations some where along the line and we will get hurt or disappointed. We build walls, make decisions, sever friendships, do a lot of things in an attempt to keep from getting hurt.

Now, I’m not advocating allowing somebody malicious to continue to hurt you.

Its more like this: I have a husband who loves me more than anything. He has a lot of things to deal with in this life and God is working with him in his life on those things. But he sometimes hurts me…not that he means to, he just does. And therein lies the kernel of truth.

We should exercise wisdom against those in our lives who are toxic – who seek to harm us and tear us down.

We do not need to shield ourselves from the hurts of those who love us, but are human and sometimes just make bad choices.

Its in the relationships where we put those little hurts aside and focus instead on the love and blessings of that person in our lives that we grow the most. We need to lay ourselves vulnerable and transparent in these places and know that we will be hurt sometimes. But not because that person meant to hurt us…just because they are human too!!! We learn how to trust and how to communicate with tender honesty and we grow up into big girls and boys.

I have a great friend…sometimes she hurts me. I can say to her, “It hurt me so much when you…” and then she apologizes and we talk about it…and then its over and we move on. We have always focused on tender honesty and on knowing that we never set out to hurt one another. We have chosen to focus on the love we have.

This is the kind of relationship God meant for me to have with everyone, and most especially with my husband. Tender, open, balanced and honest – and yes, sometimes disappointing or painful.

When somebody else hurts you, or you feel disappointed, chances are strong there is something you don’t know. Chances are strong you see the outer walls of the White House and don’t understand just how much reconstruction is going on inside.

With strangers and with friends, you don’t always know what you don’t know.

And with Christ, it is the same. We could never know what we don’t know…the vastness of what we do not know is too much to even consider.

Yet, Christ is trying to teach us how to be good human beings…he places wonderful people in our lives who will hurt or disappoint us and asks us to love them just the same. He asks us to put aside our bricks and mortar and be honest with tenderness and compassion. He asks us not to judge, but to use wisdom and to not let small slights and petty differences get in the way of real relationship.

And consistently He reinforces that there is much we do not know…and that is the way it is supposed to be.

1 comment:

Gina said...

You really are so insightful. The White House parallel was amazing. Thank you for this and especially for using husbands as an example. I needed this.